Showing posts from February, 2014

Snapshots After Character Man.

When Jim called Donna McKechnie, legendary Broadway performer, to come to the tiny Urban Stages to see the dress rehearsal of "Character Man" last night -- the first time we'd see the show up on its feet -- it reminded me that she had once invited him to a tiny little stage to see an experimental musical she was working on called "A Chorus Line." He hadn't even heard of it before going through that door. He just remembered crying for a hour afterward.

"Character Man" is not designed to be that intense a show, but it does have a poignant moment that brings most people to tears and, like "A Chorus Line," it's a true story of the theater.  
Also present, because she was in town from her home in Cincinnati, was Pam Myers, who Jim did a show with -- was it Oklahoma? -- back "in the stone age." Theatrical families are nomadic. Long times apart after intense personal interactions. When you see each other after a long time, all th…

Character Man Rehearsal Pics

Yesterday was the first day of tech rehearsals for Character Man. We were also visited by the talented and beauteous theater reporter, Frank DiLella, came by to interview Jim for "On Stage," the theater show on NY1, here in New York.

Here is a picture of Jim and me with Francis Hill, the artistic director:

Behind the Scenes Photos from Character Man.

The production meeting went really smoothly. Meanwhile, in the theater...
But where's the artistic consultant??

Theater Fun!

Yesterday, we went down to Urban Stages to do a preliminary walk-through for the lighting designer of Jim Brochu's "Character Man," Meghan Santelli. I purposely did not bring a camera because it can be a distraction when someone is concentrating.  It needed to be just a private creative session. (I'm, officially, the Artistic Consultant, which mean I don't have to do anything, but they ask my my opinion, anyway.)
We are blessed with a nice big stage, tall ceiling and a full lighting package. For a theater person, if you can get these things, it's like having a mountain of gold. It even has balcony railing on the back wall and big steam pipes. Fabulous!
Also, since "Character Man" is a kind of memory play (memory musical?), and utilizes a lot of personal photographs, we have video and set designer, Patrick Brennan to create a three-screen projection. Previously, Jim had just edited them together himself. And they worked, but also felt a bit homemade…

A Thought From Last Night.

Last night, the "Boys from the Book" (The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival Resilience) and I, along with the author Dr. Perry Halkitis, sat in front of some very interesting people and talked about our lives as HIV Positive older gay men at a very gay bookstore called Bureau of General Services -- Queer Division, which was upstairs on a very dark street in Chinatown, or near it.

It was our second or third time to do this, so we never know what we're going to talk about.

For instance, one of the guys felt a little angry and "left behind" by gay culture. One talked of depression. All talked about how we feel like survivors of a war. The PTSD stays in the background and never goes away. And that goes, as everyone agreed, for those who were not HIV positive.
An entire generation of really bright and handsome and meaningful men all died, and we stand battling on against the side effects of the medications. 
One man from the audience said he worried about gettin…

Reminder: AIDS Panel Tonight in New York.

Information here.

Join us at the Bureau of General Service -- Queer Division for a presentation by Perry Halkitis of his new book The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience. Halkitis will be joined by five of the men he interviewed for this book: Jim Alba, Erik Bartley, Sean McKenna, Lee Raines, and Steve Schalchlin. After the presentation, the author and the five interviewees will engage the audience in discussion.

The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience examines the strategies for survival and coping employed by these HIV-positive gay men, who together constitute the first generation of long-term survivors of the disease. Through interviews conducted by the author, it narrates the stories of gay men who have survived since the early days of the epidemic; documents and delineates the strategies and behaviors enacted by men of this generation to survive it; and examines the extent to which these approaches to survival inform and are informed by the broad b…

Bryan Cranston, LBJ and Louann.

I just posted on "All That Chat" this personal review of Bryan Cranston in "All the Way," a new Broadway play about LBJ and the inside process of passing civil rights legislation. I put it here because it refers to Louan Gideon, who I had just written about this past week.


A stunning, masterful performance in an intricate large cast play about the machinations of getting civil rights legislation passed, while simultaneously trying to get nominated and then elected to his first actual term in office after JFK's death. Cranston disappears into the bombastic, profane, warrior persona of LBJ completely and naturally.

It's also a concise and illuminating history lesson by the playwright, Robert Shenkkan. Balancing many simultaneous stories, the writing was crystal clear and easy to follow as it bounced back and forth between Washington and Missisippi.

MLK (Brandon J. Dirdan, calmly convincing) fights to hang o…

Pre-Announcement for Missa Appassionata, The Bay Ridge Mass, June 7

After I write something -- or even during or before -- I like to see it visually, so I make a logo. And there it is.

After four years, I am finally ready to present the Mass I've been composing for Christ Church Bay Ridge. The world premiere will be June 7th there in Brooklyn.

I'll have more to say on the subject soon. But I wanted to let my own fans know first. There will be limited seating. Whether or not we'll record it is still something we're discussing. Hopefully, we will.

But we now have a date and I'm very excited. This is the most ambitious composing I've done in my life. I hope it exceeds expectations. (Which means, come without them).

Another Angel Dies. RIP Louan Gideon.

I mentioned, a few posts ago, that First Angel Don Kirkpatrick, had died. A couple of days ago, I learned that Louan Gideon had also died. Louan got short fame on a soap opera, Search For Tomorrow, thanklessly coming in to play a role that had been the property of another actress for a very long time -- in a story where they ended the series by flooding the town.

In a way, I didn't know Louan that well when we worked together, even though I was serving as musical director for her and her then boyfriend, Chris, in an act they called Taylor and Cole, a kind of girlfiriend/boyfriend Donny and Marie act. I didn't really lead the band. Chris did. All the arrangements and show ideas were his. The money was his, though I don't recall we were paid all that much. We lived on the road.

We being the band, consisting of myself plus four teenage boys -- I was in my late-20s about then. Even at my age, I was still new to the world, so we kind of discovered partying on the road together…

Jim Brochu's Character Man Will Open Off-Broadway.